[ISEA97] Artist Statement: Keisuke Oki — News agent X

Artist Statement

Stock markets, wars, power struggles, environmental problems, murders, and more — we always try to find out what’s behind the headlines on television news or what’s to be read between lines of newspaper articles. It’s easy to see that there are many causal relationships lying under the surface of the daily news. All the small particles of cause interact with each other, to become social phenomena at the final stage. Evening news programs on TV can work toward family ties, providing a time for sharing common subjects with other family members. Yet 24-hour news programs like CNN or BBC Satellite can turn us into world news addicts. We can hardly stop watching news programs. They bring dramatic spectacles to our homes in real time, as do music and sports channels. News seems to influence our feelings, thoughts, behavior and attitudes in everyday life. All of human activity reflects the mechanical, materialistic elements which form the world. This the traditional sociological view point, but it is being turned upside-down. We should now start interpreting society through the methods of biology. Social structure needs to be seen as a biological system rather than a material system. Applying this interpretation to news, the reflection of our social structure in all of our activities is based on biological reasons, since individuals’ activities can be understood in the context of biological rules. The latest theories in financial analysis —as well as other fields— derive largely from biological findings. (Theories based on “complex systems” are a good example). Darwinian competition, too, is being applied to those theories.

For ISEA97, I will set up a closed circuit information flow, a virtually-created “news program”, which consists of TV news images, newspaper articles and financial market reports. News contents can be categorized by a “favorability” score indicated by the audience’s brainwaves. Brainwave data, in this case, depicts the audience’s subconscious. In between the human response and news factors, there would be an agent which indicates the audience’s state of mind. There would be 4 degree of “favorability” in responding to news: very favorable, favorable, neutral, and unfavorable. Depending upon the “favorability” indicated by measured brainwaves, the agent would modify the news and financial market reports that it calls up. The more the audience indicates favor, the more the agent”grows”,  like a biological entity. If the agent grows to a certain degree, it starts breeding. The agent has a life span, so that it will have to mature within a given period of time. Otherwise it cannot bear descendants. If agent fully is developed when it breeds, it can produce genetically strong descendants.
The result of the whole process above can be output as a graph in a financial report. The audience can see various types of news and find out how their minds relate the news factors at the same time a computer detects how an audience’s brain is behaving. Videos:  News_agent(X)  News_agent(X): How Agent Works

  • Keisuki Oki (Japan) was born in 1952 in Tokyo. Works as an Artist, DTI (Digital Therapy Institute) and teaches at Nagoya University of Art and Design. Activites in 1997 include: LIQ­UID VISIONS, Lucerne, Switzerland; in 1996: Ex Machina, Cameraworks, London, England; Control to Chaos, National Film School, Copenhagen, Denmark; in 1995: TELEPOLIS, Luxembourg; in 1994: 1SEA94, Helsinki, Finland; in 1993: FISEA (ISEA93), Minneapolis, U.S.A.; Psychoscape, 0 museum,Tokyo. Writings include: Brain Wave Rider: A Human-Machine Interface, International Society for the Arts, Science, and Technology Leonardo Volume 28, Number 4 1995; Decisions at the Speed of Electronic Circuitry, Burda Academy, 1995, Germany; Synchronicity in the Computational Age, Kunstforum, November 1995, Germany.